North Carolina has always had its finger on the pulse of fashion in one way or another.
With strong roots in textile production and manufacturing, NC State’s College of Design, yearly fashion weeks, designers like Raleigh Denim Workshop and a growing community of local clothing makers (here is a list by ExitEvent), it isn’t entirely surprising that a New York-based designer would choose NC as a new home for her socially-conscious apparel company.
Loyale, debuting this month via online store, is a women’s clothing line dedicated to ethical production and transparency. Its founder is Jenny Hwa, known locally for recent leadership roles at Innovate Raleigh and the Hopscotch Music & Design Festivals.
Loyale is a labor of love that Hwa originally started in NY in 2005. As the company’s sole employee, Hwa worked for years developing her line and organizing the business. After a few years in the fashion industry, Loyale was featured in The New York Times’ Sunday Styles section and Vogue, 60 retailers were carrying the line and Hwa was awarded an Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business grant to support Loyale’s development. But despite her brand’s recognition, Hwa was unable to create a profit margin that would allow her to grow or hire employees to help with the workload.
Hwa decided to search for a place to relocate that would provide a sustainable business environment to match Loyale’s business practices. Her search allowed her to travel to different areas of NC, where she fell in love with the beauty of the state and the friendly culture.
Thus began the seven-year journey that would lead to Loyale’s relaunch in Raleigh.
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